Job burnout, while a problem in many different fields, is especially prevalent among doctors and their colleagues, according to a new study published recently.
The study, led by Dr. Paul Griner a practicing hematologist and internist of nearly 60 years as well as a medical educator, found nearly 46 percent of the 7,288 physicians surveyed in June 2011 reported at least one symptom of burnout. Burnout can have many adverse effects on a doctor’s responsibilities, especially when dealing with other people’s health issues.
Griner characterized doctors suffering from burnout as detached with a diminished empathy and displaying emotional exhaustion and said all these can seriously impede a doctor’s ability to accurately and thoroughly examine patients as they should.
"Doctors need to be in tune with their patients, asking, listening and connecting the dots. They can’t do that effectively if they’re burned out," Griner said.
Burnout is often a contributing factor to medical errors and a 2000 Institute of Medicine study found errors, including misdiagnosis and incomplete diagnosis, account for between 44,000 and 98,000 preventable deaths each year.
Researchers used a 22-item assessment called the Maslach Burnout Inventory as well as a shorter inventory to determine if the physician was suffering symptoms of burnout.
Griner has 59 years of experienced practicing and is a professor of medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine as well as a senior lecturer at Harvard Medical School.
By taking some simple conscious steps in your life, you can help keep burnout at bay.